In announcement to the ASX and shareholders yesterday it was revealed that Collaborate Corporation Limited (ASX:CL8) has recently closed a $1.26 million funding round to continue the growth and expansion of its collaborative consumption businesses.
Previously named QANDA Technologies, this is the first funding round since the business changed its name to Collaborate Corporation late last year.
Based in North Sydney, Collaborate Corporation first got into the game of online marketplaces by buying 43.3 percent of its first portfolio company Marketboomer – which provides an online trading platform that allows hotels to view offers from multiple suppliers in real-time. Last year Marketboomer completed an additional funding round of AUD$250,000.
Learning from their experiences with Marketboomer, the team began to gain a deeper understanding of buyers and sellers, owners and renters. Now they are aiming to be the leading company on the ASX in the collaborative consumption space.
Collaborate’s peer-to-peer businesses include DriveMyCar Rentals, Caramavan, Rentoid, and a significant stake in Marketboomer.
As I reported last year, the initial acquisition involving DriveMyCarRentals came about when the directors, founders, and major shareholders of the business were looking at a number of options to grow the company. Some of these options included raising capital privately, a sale of the business and a public listing. The acquisition of Caramavan came about in a very similar fashion.
Company CEO Chris Noone said that the round was heavily oversubscribed, with a number of institutions and high net worth investors looking to get in on the round.
“In the US we have recently seen peer-to-peer businesses such as Airbnb, Uber, Lending Club, and RelayRides achieve extraordinary valuation increases and it is pleasing to see that Australian investors are now aware of the potential for collaborative consumption to disrupt multiple billion-dollar industries,” Noone said.
“Other companies operating in peer-to-peer markets in the US and globally have achieved large valuation increases, as evidenced by five of the fifteen US startups with the fastest growing valuations between funding rounds being peer-to-peer businesses.”
According to a statement, the funds will be used to advance the growth of Collaborate’s proprietary trust and reputation platform. This will allow the company to launch new peer-to-peer plays and enable them to hit the ground running with a robust marketing campaign for the new DriveMyCar website, which will be relaunching soon.
The focus for Collaborate is firmly on becoming the leading publicly listed company in the area of collaborative consumption and peer-to-peer marketplace opportunities. DriveMyCarRentals, along with other portfolio companies like Rentoid and Caramavan, means that Collaborate now operates what it claims will be the future leaders in the P2P marketplaces for cars and caravans, as well as household and commercial items.
As Startup Daily has said before, there is yet to be an Australian startup that solely operates in the collaborative consumption / peer-to-peer marketplace, and there is yet to be one that emerges from the pack as a significant market leader in terms of both traction and revenue.
Collaborate’s strategy of owning a little bit of every vertical to see what takes off is a smart one, albeit an expensive exercise.